Brexit: Extra staff recruited to cope with rising demand for Irish passports
Continuing demand for passports has forced Irish authorities to put on extra staff, which is being linked to the UK's forthcoming exit from the EU.
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The Department of Foreign Affairs says there has been a "significant" increase in applications from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Most recent figures show that applications from the UK were up 74% in January after the Brexit vote from the previous year.
In January this year 7,045 people from Northern Ireland applied for an Irish passport which is an increase of 3,072 in the same month last year.
Elsewhere in the UK there was an increase of 71% with 6,026 people applying in January, this is an increase of 2,501.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan said that in the short term the Passport Service is recruiting over 200 temporary workers to help cope with the demand.
Mr Flanagan said: "Early indicators in 2017 are showing that increased demand for passports is likely to be sustained, certainly in the immediate future. We are in the course of delivering a major Passport Reform Programme which will ensure significant customer service improvements to benefit citizens in the near future.
"This includes the introduction of online adult renewals which will mean a more efficient service for applicants. I expect to start rolling out this programme before the end of March this year.
“In the short term, to respond to the increase in demand, the Passport Service is recruiting over 230 temporary clerical officers, over half of which are already in place.
“I am carefully monitoring passport services and discussed the matter with my officials today.
“It is vital that applicants check the validity of their passports before booking travel, apply in good time, ensure forms are correctly completed, and consult the different turnaround times for different categories of passport.”
Last year the Passport Service also recruited an additional 200 staff to cope with demand with Brexit cited as one possible factor.
Belfast Telegraph Digital